Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 17

1.What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)? Is the practice of Triple Talak protected under the Constitution? Critically discuss. (GS 2)

समान नागरिक संहिता (यूसीसी) क्या है? क्या ट्रिपल तलक की प्रथा संविधान के तहत संरक्षित है? गंभीर रूप से चर्चा करें।

Suggested Answer:

Uniform Civil Code refers to a common code that governs marriages, divorce, inheritance, maintenance and adoption for the citizens of a country.

India does not have a UCC at present; however Article 44 of the constitution of India directs the state to enact a UCC.

At present, the aforementioned aspects differ from religion to religion and are governed by the personal laws of that particular religion.

Only the state of Goa has enacted a UCC.

Time and again, Supreme Court has exhorted the Parliament to enact a UCC. This issue was first brought in the forefront during the Shah Bano case in 1985. Thereafter, SC has reiterated that in John Vallamattom case and more recently in Albert Anthony case (PIL).

Triple Talaq is a practice in which a muslim husband can divorce his wife by uttering “talaq” three times, without his wife having any say in the matter.

Institutions such as the Jamiat-ulema-i-Hind and All India Muslim Personal Law Board do not support the Supreme Court looking into the constitutionality of triple talaq in the Shayara Bano case because they are of the view that:

  1. The practice of triple talaq flows from the Holy Quran and Supreme Court has not right to question a holy book. Personal laws do not come under the ambit of A.13 and are therefore not subject to constitutional scrutiny.
  2. Triple talaq is a religious practice that is protected under Articles 25 and 26(b) of the constitution.
  3. A Uniform Civil Code is merely a non-enforceable directive principle, and thus cannot be clubbed with abolition of an Islamic practice.
  4. Taking away the right to utter “talaq” three times would impinge on the right to freedom of speech and expression under A.19(1)
  5. Triple talaq is a social need as there is no other way for a muslim man to undergo divorce. He cannot approach the courts since courts cannot interfere in personal laws.

However, the practice of triple talaq may not be protected under the constitution as:

  1. Article 25(2) enables the state to regulate secular activities related with religion, and marriage, divorce etc are secular and cultural practices, not religious practices.
  2. Triple talaq will have to be subjected to the “essential practices” test, which are practices “without which the religion will stand substantially altered or changed”[SC]. Since several Islamic theologic states have also banned the practice of triple talaq, the practice is certainly not an “essential practice” of Islam.
  3. The fact the the wife does not have a similar mechanism to resort to divorce violates the principles of equality under A.14.
  4. The practice of triple talaq has been widely misused, wherein not only do muslim husbands divorce the wives in iniebriated state, but they are forbidden to remarry them again without an intervening marriage – nikah halala. This violates a woman’s right to life and dignity enshrined in A.21 of the constitution.
  5. The freedom of speech in A.19(1) is subject to reasonable restrictions such as public order and morality as specified in A.19(2), nullifying the contention of Islamic bodies.

Supreme Court is currently examining the petitions regarding the constitutionality of triple talaq and nikal halala. Prima facie, they are discriminatory to women and have been widely misused. Moreover, they do not enjoy a blanket protection in the constitution. .However, they are the only means for muslims to obtain a divorce.

Thus, along with a decision that upholds basic human rights and the principles of equality enshrined in the constitution, the Supreme Court should also:
1. Nullify the existing laws such as Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, which forbid muslims from approaching the courts for divorce.
2. Provide a way forward on whether henceforth the divorces will be court-mediated or not, and an institutional framework for the same.
3. Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, must be read in such a way as to prevent muslim women from misusing it for filing dowry harassment cases.

Simultaneously, the Parliament and government must initiate and sustain a discussion on the Uniform Civil Code by consulting all stakeholders and bring in a UCC that is favourable for as well as protects progressive customs and traditions of all religions in the country.

2.What are Redistributive Resource Transfers (RRT)? List two differences between RRT and foreign aid. (GS 3)

पुनर्वितरण संसाधन स्थानांतरण (आर आर टी) क्या हैं? आर आर टी और विदेशी सहायता के बीच दो मतभेदों की सूची दें।

Suggested Answer:

Redistributive Resource Transfer (RRT) is the gross devolution of finances from centre to the states in proportion to the states’ share in GDP. The top 10 recipients of the same are: Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.

The Economic Survey 2016-17 identifies that the annual per capita RRT flows for all the north-eastern states (except Assam) and Jammu-Kashmir have exceeded the annual per capita consumption expenditure corresponding to the all-India poverty line.

It points out that these transfers have not led to better outcomes in per capita consumption, GSDP growth, growth of manufacturing, efforts to increase own tax revenue, improving institutional quality etc. In fact, these have been seen to be on the decline, and portray a negative relationship.

These outcomes are similar to the ones observed in situations where a country is dependent on foreign aid.
However, the differences between foreign aid and RRTs are as follows:

  1. RRTs are intra-country transfers whereas foreign aid, as the name suggests, is an aid given by another country or international financial institutions such as WB, IMF etc.
  2. RRTs are redistribution of the centre’s own finances, and do not augment the national disposable income. Foreign aid does.
  3. RRTs are not tied to a particular purpose whereas foreign aid from institutions such as WB and others are usually for specific projects or initiatives and are thus tied.

It is also possible that the negative relationship between aid and outcomes is as a result of poor connectivity, poor infrastructure and poor awareness regarding government initiatives as well.
Thus, a thrust on improving these aspects through schemes such as PMGSY, Jan Dhan Yojana, BharatNet and Digital India etc is the need of the hour.

The survey also suggests other ways to transfer finances as an alternative to RRT. These are: Direct transfer by means of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) etc. and transfers contingent on the states’ performance w.r.t fiscal effort as well as governance outcomes.

3.Has the formation of linguistic States strengthened the cause of Indian Unity? (GS 2)
क्या भाषाइ राज्यों के गठन नें भारतीय एकता के उद्देश्य को मजबूती प्रदान की है ?

Suggested Answer:

India was fragmented into more than 500 princely territories and the provinces of British India at the time of independence. After accession into the Union, there came the sticky issue of integrating the kingdoms and provinces into feasible administrative units.

First the Dhar commission, and then the JVP commission rejected the reorganization of states on linguistic basis despite clamour for the same. Fazl Ali commission or States Reorganization Commission, in 1953, allowed that in principle, while giving primacy to administrative convenience.

Linguistic reorganization has strengthened the cause of Indian unity as:

  1. It put an end to fissiparous tendencies that would’ve balkanized the country on the basis of language.
    2. It fulfilled the aspirations of people to have autonomous political units for governance.
    3. Led to development of vernacular languages and imparting of education in them, thus facilitating literacy.
    4. Development and adoption of vernacular language also enabled political participation by the common man and enabled the common man to voice issues of concern in a familiar language.
    5. Enabled the preservation of local customs, culture, and festivals. Over time, the people of India have come to cherish the myriad customs of different states. E.g: Chhath celebrations have become popular in Gujarat.
    6. It did not lead to complaints regarding discrimination in the matter of distribution of resources on the basis of language, nor did it affect the federal structure of the country.

However, linguistic reorganization also led to several unintended consequences such as regionalism, linguistic chauvinism and foundation of the “Sons of the soil” doctrine.

There are several issues that are a threat to India’s integrity – ethnic clashes in the North East, demand for new states on the basis of backwardness such as Marathwada and Saurashtra, militancy in Jammu and Kashmir etc. Inter-state water disputes are another troublesome issue.
But the political leadership of newly independent India had the foresight to visualize the consequences of not acquiescing to popular aspirations. Their decision to linguistically reorganize the states has therefore removed one important factor that would’ve jeopardized India’s integrity and thus strengthened the cause of Indian unity.


Print Friendly